LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More likely than not, you can find CJ Carter with clippers in hand at his Louisville barber shop, Barbers R Us.
Carter described how his experiences as a youth set him on the road to becoming a barber. “My mother was a beautician, so she would cut my hair and she would give me a chili bowl cut. She wouldn’t give me no hairline or anything. In the fourth grade I had enough and picked up the clippers,” Carter said.
When you’re in his chair at the shop, it’s a chance to spark up a conversation. “That’s the one thing about the barbershop, when you bring those ideas and thoughts, of course they’re going to be challenged to see where they actually stand,” Carter said. “This is something we’ve always discussed, especially when it comes to cannabis.”
Cannabis is something Carter has been passionate about since being diagnosed with epilepsy in 2018. Carter serves as the Kentucky state director of Minorities for Medical Marijuana (MMM) and is the founder of the CannaMercial Realty Group.
“It’s where I’m at today, where I’m in the cannabis space not only as an advocate, an entrepreneur but I’m also a patient. So this is something I’m really passionate about because it helps me with my situation and I know it has the possibility to help a lot more people,” Carter said.
The executive order has lifted an enormous weight off Carter’s shoulders. The order signed Nov. 15 by Gov. Andy Beshear will take effect in January 2023. It allows Carter and others who meet certain conditions to possess medical cannabis that was legally purchased in other states.
Beshear detailed 21 specific medical conditions that have to be met for someone to possess medical cannabis. The list includes cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, muscular dystrophy or a terminal illness.
“Definitely a huge win for not only the residents but also the patients of the state,” Carter said. “At this stage in my life when it comes to epilepsy I have to prioritize my self care. I have to put my self care above everything that I do.”
Although this is a step in the right direction, Carter believes there’s more that needs to be done, including the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis.
“We have to have economic inclusion, we have to have supplier diversity, we have to have specific language as it relates to Black folks here in the state of Kentucky,” Carter said. “Which is why it is something that has to be talked about and has to be included in all present and future cannabis legislation.”
It’s a conversation Carter believes will eventually open a fair and inclusive market for all.
Carter, along with the MMM, will host a cannabis speed networking event for any individuals interested in being in the cannabis space. They will hold the event Dec. 8 at the Black Jockeys Lounge in Louisville from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.